Organized by ETH Zurich Department of Architecture and Urban Design, with Alfredo Billembroug & Hubert Klumpner of Urban-Think Tank, the 'Torre David - Informal Vertical Communities' exhibition is an adaptation and evolution of the installation on Torre David that was presented at the 2012 Biennale di Venezia, where it was awarded the Golden Lion. Taking place at Aedes Berlin from July 12-August 29, the Torre David project will be presented in an extended format and will include new research on the intersection between verticality and informal communities. More information on the exhibition after the break.
Torre David is a 45-story office building in Caracas, Venezuela. As one of South America’s tallest skyscrapers, it is unique in its lack of elevators. Almost completed, it was abandoned following the death of its developer and the collapse of the Venezuelan economy in 1994. Today, it is a squat of more than 750 families living in an extra-legal and tenuous occupation that some call a vertical slum.
Alfredo Brillembourg & Hubert Klumpner, professors at ETH Zurich, along with their research and design teams at Urban-Think Tank, the photographer Iwan Baan, and the SuAT Group, spent a year and a half studying the physical and social organization of this ruin-turned-home. Where some only see a failed development project, they have conceived of it as a laboratory for the study of the informal. With the support of the Schindler Group, the research team also explored innovative design solutions to address new modes of vertical mobility. Building upon this work, this exhibition presents novel proposals on how existing structures in today’s cities, such as parking garages, can be retrofitted and transformed to meet urgent needs such as a lack of housing and recreational space.
The exhibition lays out a vision for practical, sustainable interventions in Torre David and similar informal settlements around the world. It argues that the future of urban development lies in collaboration among architects, private enterprise, and the global population of slum-dwellers. Brillembourg and Klumpner issue a call to arms to fellow architects: to see in the informal settlements of the world a potential for innovation and experimentation, with the goal of using design in the service of a more equitable and sustainable future.
Working in the global context of informality, Brillembourg and Klumpner focus on developing strategies to transform cities into more productive and inclusive environments, and on training a new generation of designers to improve cities in the 21st century. Since 2010 they have held the Chair of Architecture and Urban Design at ETH Zurich. They are also co-principals of Urban-Think Tank (U-TT), an interdisciplinary design practice dedicated to delivering innovative yet practical solutions through the combined skills of architects, civil engineers, environmental planners, landscape architects, and artists.
Speaking at the opening will be: Dr. h.c. Kristin Feireiss, Aedes Berlin; Dr. Paul Friedli, Schindler Management AG; Prof. Alfredo Brillembourg, ETH Zurich; and Prof. Hubert Klumpner, ETH Zurich
This exhibition was made possible through the generous support of: The Schindler Group, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich
Many thanks to our Aedes cooperation additional partners for their generous support and collaboration: Zumtobel, carpet concept, Axor hansgrohe